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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Kiwis hope to re-open Indian wounds

March 12, 2003 16:56 IST

New Zealand head for their final World Cup Super Six match against India dreaming of the green, green grass of home.

Stephen Fleming would probably give every dollar he owns to replace Friday's Centurion strip with a Christchurch or Auckland greentop.

Fleming may not be able to fly in one of those seaming, drop-in pitches -- the Indians, in contrast, have felt wonderfully at home on South Africa's surprisingly flat wickets -- but he will at least try to invoke the memories of beating India 5-2 in their World Cup warm-up series.

"We just have to exploit some of their baggage or open up wounds as we did in New Zealand," said Fleming.

"It is a big challenge. India are very confident in the way they are playing, but it is their weakness as well."

India were bowled out for under 130 four times in that one-day series, and also lost both tests, failing to reach 200 in any of their four innings. In Hamilton, they were dismissed for 99 in the first innings.

New Zealand strike bowler Shane Bond took 12 wickets for 16.33 in the Tests, while Andre Adams took 14 at 9.35 in the one-dayers. India's Sachin Tendulkar, meanwhile, averaged 25 with the bat in the Tests and 0.66 in three one-day knocks.

Sourav Ganguly's average was in single figures in both series.

After weeks of agonised side glances at other results during the World Cup, New Zealand will go into Friday's game with blinkers, determined to control their own destiny.

The Kiwis needed two results to go their way in the first phase, including the nerve-wracking South Africa-Sri Lanka day-night tie in Durban.

Victory at Centurion, they know, pure and simple, will mean the semi-finals.

It could even mean a repeat meeting with India, who have only lost once in eight outings, in the second semi-final in Durban.

New Zealand have eight points, behind Australia (20), India (16) and Kenya (10 points before Wednesday's match against Zimbabwe). Neither Zimbabwe (3.5) or Sri Lanka (7.5), however, are yet out of the running.

Fleming's first job may be to bury some bad memories of his own, after his side reduced world champions Australia to 84 for seven in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, dismissed them for 208 but still lost by 96 runs.


He said he would count on his second-line bowlers giving better back-up to Bond, who took a New Zealand one-day best of six for 23 against the Australians.

All-rounder Chris Cairns, still working his way back as a bowler after knee surgery, was kept out of the attack in Port Elizabeth.

"He was not quite 100 percent against Australia," Fleming said.

"It brings him back into play against India, whereas we would have risked him for that if he had bowled against Australia."

Ganguly's side, meanwhile, have already qualified for the last four and have enough points to make sure they will avoid the Australians, the only team to have beaten India at the World Cup.

Ganguly, however, made clear there would be no experimentation.

"We are very motivated. We will field our best possible team," he said.

"We still consider the New Zealand game crucial because the outcome will also decide certain other things. Victory could lead to India facing Kenya in the semi-finals.

Ganguly dismissed Fleming's assessment that India could be over-confident after winning six games in a row.

"The New Zealanders also said many things about the Australians," he said. "They got smashed."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Number of User Comments: 33

Sub: Gang Ganguly

Verbal volleys preceding matches probably make the matches all the more interesting. It's the only door for us viewers to get into the minds of ...

Posted by Sundar

Sub: foolish fleming

Before opening the wounds of others, just look at urs. out of eleven, one bowler one batsmen and other nine are bits and pieces cricketers. ...

Posted by Ravikanth

Sub: Wounded tigers

Bond v/s Tendulkar is a contest that every Indian is waiting to see. The Kiwis should realise that when a featherless bird encounters a wounded ...

Posted by Debraj

Sub: Watch out Fleming!

You spoke buddy.... should have kept mum!!! Just watch the tornados errupt now ... the wounds havent healed yet ...

Posted by Shailesh Deshpande

Sub: And once again..

.. the greatest contemporary ODI captain puts his foot in his mouth. He must like the taste of his socks a bit too much. And ...

Posted by Sumit


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